Upcoming Changes to the Municipal Government Act
Bill 20 — the Municipal Government Amendment Act — require municipalities to adopt a code of conduct, define what matters councils can discuss at closed meetings, permit municipalities to soften the rules for petitions, require multi-year operating and capital plans, and streamline the voluntary amalgamation process. Bill 20 also creates the authority for the province and cities of Calgary and Edmonton to negotiate city charters.
NEWS RELEASE - Bill 20 Update
Enhancing municipal accountability and transparency:
• Public Participation – Amendment that requires municipalities to adopt public participation policies. The City of Calgary already does this, and, as the amendment does not dictate what approach municipalities should take, there should be no impact to The City’s operations in this area.
• Codes of Conduct – New requirement that all municipalities develop and adopt codes of conduct. This was previously voluntary. Calgary was supportive of this, however, it should be noted that this legislation does not allow councils to remove councillors from office.
• Council Meetings – Changes that define circumstances and procedures for a closed meeting. Calgary advocated for this, but a more thorough review is required to determine if the proposed legislation achieves what we envisioned.
• Petitions – Gives municipalities the power, by bylaw, to change, if desired, the parameters of petitions (decrease the percentage of signatories, accept online, extend timelines and allow petitioners to recall signatures).
Enabling efficient municipal operations:
• Public notification – More flexibility in how The City can notify the public. This will allow The City to use digital channels and other methods to notify citizens.
• Administration Roles and Responsibilities – Flexibility to clarify administrative duties and the chief administrative officer’s ability to delegate, in order for municipalities to consider local circumstances.
Enhancing municipal viability:
• Corporate Planning – Requires municipalities to adopt, at minimum, three-year operating plans and five-year capital plans. The City of Calgary’s budget planning process seems to be aligned with this amendment so there should be no impact to The City.
• Voluntary amalgamations – This amendment streamlines the voluntary amalgamation process, and should not impact The City of Calgary’s operations.
Strengthened municipal and intermunicipal planning:
• Annexation Requirements – The proposed legislation opens up the possibility of the Minister introducing annexation principles and procedures through a regulation. The specifics of the regulation have not been introduced or discussed yet.
• Hierarchy of Plans – Calgary was advocating for clarity surrounding the hierarchy of planning documents. Bill 20 does not address where growth management plans and the Land Use Bylaw fit within the hierarchy.
• Appeal Board Training – This amendment, which requires SDAB members and clerks to undergo mandatory training, will likely not have major impacts on The City.
• Off-site Levies – This legislation is directly linked to the court challenge involving the City of Edmonton. The proposed change will empower municipalities to charge for each type of infrastructure separately and over time. It does not expand the scope of off-site levies.
Government amends the Municipal Government Act (March 16, 2015). Alberta Government. Retrieved from: http://alberta.ca/release.cfm?xID=378686BDFD0D3-B27C-DD93-A4BC885FE19C7407
Hinton, Darcy. (March 16, 2015). Calgary Herald. Alberta kicks off Municipal Government Act overhaul Retrieved from http://calgaryherald.com/news/politics/alberta-kicks-off-municipal-government-act-overhaul
This content represents the personal views and opinions of the Councillor and should not be taken as a statement of policy of The City of Calgary. The inclusion of any external content does not imply endorsement by The City of Calgary.